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Parkinson’s Disease and Movement Disorders Program (PDMD)

We provide compassionate care for Veterans with Parkinson’s disease and other movement disorders – such as Parkinson’s plus disorders, essential tremor and dystonia – so that you may live your most fulfilling life.

PDMD health care

The neurology and rehabilitation medicine departments use a shared care model for Veterans with a movement disorder. We use a lifelong care model and continue to follow you throughout the disease process. This program includes medical, surgical and rehabilitation services.

Health care services

Medical services

  • Neurology diagnoses movement disorders and provides medication. Neurology providers specializing in movement disorders also provide programming for deep brain stimulators (DBS) to maximize the effects of the device and each Veteran’s level of function.
  • Rehabilitation medicine performs a comprehensive assessment focused on your daily function. They may recommend one or more therapies to maximize your quality of life.

Surgical services

Deep brain stimulation (DBS) 

  • Surgery may be indicated as a treatment for certain movement disorders including Parkinson’s Disease, essential tremor and dystonia. DBS is most effective for those with disabling tremors, significant wearing-off spells and dyskinesias (involuntary movements) caused by medications.

  • DBS is now offered at the Minneapolis VA Health Care System for Veterans within VISN 23 (North/South Dakota, Iowa, Nebraska and Minnesota) and is considered after a comprehensive evaluation from several team members, including neurology, neuropsychology and neurosurgery. The DBS evaluation process consists of several in-person clinic appointments over the course of weeks to months. Veterans and their care partners work together with the DBS team to determine if DBS is right for them. Talk to your local neurologist to learn more.

More information about DBS

Rehabilitation services

  • Regular follow up and interval check-ins throughout the disease process
  • 1:1 therapies (PT/OT/speech) in person and virtual
  • Home safety evaluations and equipment needs assessments
  • 10+ virtual groups for wellness/exercise and voice each week
  • Intensive programming

Watch a sample of our PD exercise groups! And talk to your physical therapist for more information.

Intensive programming

Outpatient (in person and/or virtual)

Inpatient residential

  • Living Large Programincludes intensive therapies listed above during a 5-week inpatient stay within our Polytrauma Transitional Rehab Program (PTRP). You must be independent with self-cares and mobility.
  • Living Large Program Refresher: this program is for you if you need a “tune up” with overall function and have completed intensive programming in the past. You must be independent with self-cares and mobility.

Support services

Parkinson’s Disease Support Group (virtual)

Minneapolis VA is proud to carry on our 20+ year tradition of providing a forum where Veterans with Parkinson’s Disease, and their caregivers, can get education and support.

Parkinson’s Caregiver Support Group

The Minneapolis VA Caregiver Program is hosting a virtual group for caregivers of Veterans with Parkinson’s Disease.

Education: Parkinson's disease and movement disorders

What is Parkinson's disease?

"Parkinson's disease (PD) is a type of movement disorder. It happens when nerve cells in the brain don't produce enough of a brain chemical called dopamine."

From the National Institute of Health - National Library of Medicine - Parkinson's disease

What are movement disorders?

"Movement disorders are neurologic conditions that cause problems with movement, such as:

  • Increased movement that can be voluntary (intentional) or involuntary (unintended)
  • Decreased or slow voluntary movement"

From the National Institute of Health - National Library of Medicine - Movement disorders

Education resources

Exercise and Parkinson's disease

Why should people with Parkinson’s disease exercise? Data from the Parkinson’s Foundation Parkinson’s Outcomes Project, the largest-ever clinical study of Parkinson’s, suggests that people with PD that complete at least 2.5 hours of exercise every week have a better quality of life.

"Aerobic exercise stabilizes progression of motor symptoms and improves cognitive function in people with Parkinson’s disease, according to additional data from the Park-in-Shape clinical trial." From Aerobic Exercise Stabilizes Motor Progression, Helps Cognition, Parkinson's News Today, January 4, 2022.

Exercise resources

Caregiver support

The Minneapolis VA Caregiver Program hosts a virtual group for caregivers of Veterans with Parkinson’s disease. Pre-registration is required, and group is limited to 15 participants. To register, call Jessica Peterson, LICSW, at 612-243-7922.

Learn more about the caregiver virtual support group

Caregiver resources

PDMD resources

VA Parkinson’s Disease Research, Education and Clinical Centers (PADRECC)

VA created six specialized centers known as the Parkinson’s Disease Research, Education, and Clinical Centers, that are designed to serve the estimated 110,000 Veterans affected by PD through state-of-the-art clinical care, education, research and national outreach and advocacy.

Parkinson’s Foundation

The Parkinson's Foundation makes life better for people with Parkinson’s disease by improving care and advancing research toward a cure.

Parkinson’s Foundation: Veterans and Parkinson's

Parkinson’s Foundation: Minnesota and Dakotas Chapter

LSVT Global

Evidence-based speech, physical and occupational therapies for Parkinson's, pediatrics, and other populations.

Parkinson’s Voice Project

Mission: To preserve the speech and communication of individuals with Parkinson’s and related neurological disorders through continuous speech therapy, follow-up support, research, education, and community awareness.

PDMD news and events

PDMD Program in the news

PDMD events

These educational events are VA or community based.

Minneapolis VA Health Care System events

Parkinson’s General Support Group (in person and virtual)

  • Thursday, April 18, 2024, 1:00-3:00 p.m., no registration required
  • In person: Minneapolis VA Medical Center, room 3B-108
  • Virtual: login by 1:15 p.m., join event

Parkinson’s Foundation events

Minnesota Spring Parkinson's Symposium (in person and virtual)

  • Wednesday, April 24, 2024, 10:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m., registration required
  • In person: in Arden Hills, Minnesota
  • Virtual via Zoom
  • Get the details and register

Resources and support

Minnesota and Dakotas Chapter events

Community events

Parkinson's Awareness Day at Target Field

  • Thursday, June 20, 2024, noon, plan to arrive by 11:00 a.m.
  • Call Joleen at to sign up. Veterans with Parkinson's Disease can receive two free, accessible tickets (availability is limited).
  • Join other Veterans and your VA care team at Target Field!

Downloadable resources